I’ve lived in many different houses, flats, semi-detached houses, bungalows, detached houses, rented rooms, bedsits… just about everything except for high-rise accommodation, and yet I’m not sure I have written about anywhere I have actually lived.
I grew up in Cambridge; my family lived in a two bedroomed ground floor flat with a very large garden. At the back of the flat was the kitchen with a door into the garden, and next to it the sitting room. There was an L-shaped corridor which had my parents bedroom, the lavatory and bathroom, and the bedroom my sister and I shared. None of my characters have lived anywhere like that.
When I was fourteen we moved to a three-bedroomed semi-detached house which was in need of renovation, which my dad mostly did. The front door opened into a generous hall with stairs leading up to the three bedrooms and the bathroom; there was a sitting room and a dining room and a kitchen which led out into the back garden.
When I was sixteen we moved to the west country into a newly built split level house on an estate; three bedrooms, lounge-diner, galley kitchen and separate bathroom and lavatory. I only really lived there for two years because I went away to do my degree, and lived in a series of flats and bedsits and rooms, none of which were very salubrious but some of them have been the basis for similar accommodation in some of my stories.
Then a friend bought a house, a beautiful house, and I lived there for several years; another fried bought it, and it’s lovely to be able to revisit. It has been an indirect inspiration, not just the layout, but the atmosphere of the place.
I moved into a flat which I bought with a friend, a modern flat, and although I’ve never written about it – again, it has informed some of the settings in which I’ve settled my characters. I moved to another house, another three bedroomed semi, but this was a very unhappy time of my life – and I definitely haven’t written about that!! Then I bought a bungalow… thinking by this time I would have a single life… little guessing that a couple of years after buying it I would be married, and within another two years I would have children! A very happy place to live for nearly fifteen years!
We moved and lived in a bungalow which had been my parents; we were only there for a few months, but it became the setting for a mysterious in ‘The Double Act’. Now we live in our lovely home… a bit untidy, a bit dusty because we prefer to write and paint… but a happy place. So far it hasn’t featured in anything I’ve written… but maybe, one day!